After notching the final kill of the day on Friday, the No. 20 Michigan volleyball team added a pair of impressive home victories to its undefeated campaign, sending the team to a record-setting 9-0 start to open the season.
After sweeping Oakland in the afternoon with sets of 25-12, 25-16 and 25-15, the Wolverines provided an equally impressive performance in the night game, defeating Louisiana State in straight sets as well—25-14, 25-11 and 25-20.
“We executed the defensive game plan really well. Louisiana State had some specific things it wanted to do with Taylor Bannister, and I thought our team did a great job of taking that away and forcing her to do some things that she isn’t comfortable with,” said Michigan coach Mark Rosen. “As the season progresses, I’m excited about some of the things that we can continue to do with this group.”
Junior outside hitter Sydney Wetterstrom led Michigan with 10 kills against Louisiana State— tying her career high with a .381 hitting percentage. Freshman outside hitter Paige Jones wasn‘t far behind with six kills and was particularly dominant on her serve, as she helped the Wolverines pull ahead in the second set after winning eight straight points.
“Along with our physical improvements, whether that’s in the offseason, we’ve also become closer as a team this season,” Wetterstrom said. “We’ve been through experiences together that have challenged us, and that has helped to benefit us in the long run.”
There was a stretch in the third set where the Tigers went on a run of seven straight points to crawl back into the match, but it ultimately proved too late as Michigan was able to close the door and preserve its unbeaten record.
“(The Tigers) served short a little bit during that run in the third set. They kind of changed their tactics on us, and I didn’t think that we adjusted super well to that,” Rosen said. “All of a sudden our offensive rhythm was slower because the ball was coming from a shorter distance. It just took us a little while to adjust, and that is partly because we were point scoring so well earlier in the game.”
The Wolverines have two more matchups before conference play ensues, a home-and-home series against Notre Dame on Friday and Sunday.
“I know Notre Dame is a good team,” said junior libero Jenna Lerg. “They’ve been playing a lot of Big Ten teams in preseason, so I’m excited for another good opponent before the ultimate Big Ten play comes,” said junior libero Jenna Lerg.